On An Anniversary
This morning at 4 AM marked the one-year anniversary of my dad’s passing to cancer. The emotions of the days leading up mirrored those of last year, when my father was in hospital. It was a replay of the shock of seeing someone like you’d never seen him before: clinging to life. It was a rebuilding of the unimaginable stress and anticipation of something beyond my control.
Yet, I woke up this morning knowing this day would approach. And there was more a sense of relief than anything. Like the relief I felt when I got the news, knowing my father’s suffering had come to a close. When I spoke to my mother, she said she hopes my father has found peace…but that the rest of us were still broken. Which is true. We are indeed fractured in different ways. We are traumatized from watching someone die from cancer in front of our eyes. We are shattered from the complexities of relationships, and people’s damaged selves, and issues unresolved.
It seems that an anniversary is like reliving some of these aspects. You let the emotions wax and wane. You relive the moments including the worst of them: the shock of seeing someone so dramatically altered, the last words spoken in fragments so you are left wondering their real meaning. But this time you are more prepared, like following a familiar story: remember when this happened?
A lot can change in a year.
This first anniversary is a Kaddish of sorts for my father. I find happiness in the fact that he is a year removed from his pain. As for the rest of us, yes, we are broken. But I have all my fragments in my hand, and it’s up to me to reshape them as I see fit.
Roger E. Cohen
July 21, 1936 – February 18, 2014